We’ve reached a tipping point—and some experts worry we’ve already surpassed it—where the decarbonization of our energy systems is now urgent if we want to mitigate the climate crisis. And few industries are feeling the urgency like energy and utility providers.
Decarbonization in the industry is critical in and of itself, but maybe even more important, it will enable electrification in other industries. For example, supporting electric vehicles en masse and enabling the migration from gas and oil to electric heat.
The Paris Agreement, legislation, customer demand, and good, old-fashioned self-preservation have prompted energy and utility providers to set lofty net-zero emission targets. In fact, according to a survey by S&P Global Commodity Insights, most leading U.S. utilities have made net-zero commitments:
- 25 of the country’s 30 largest power and natural gas companies have set interim carbon reduction milestones, two of which have committed to phasing out all greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
- Sixteen do not expect to be fossil-free until 2050, a full 15 years past the 2035 goal required under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
- Only four haven’t set a net-zero emissions goal.
Ultimately, providers realize it’s time to transform the way they operate or miss the mark on the transition to net zero. Still, even as the most innovative companies move forward with their plans, many are finding that while net-zero pledges are easy to make, they are not always easy to deliver.
Keeping the lights on has gotten even harder
The increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather, coupled with an aging infrastructure and rise in electrification is impacting providers’ ability to offer reliable service. A recent report from Climate Central found that outages have increased by 64% compared with the previous decade.
When service is disrupted, the impact can often go far beyond a few hours of device-less inconvenience for customers. In some cases, a provider’s inability to keep the power on is quite literally a life-and-death situation.
Providers are grappling with how to transform their operations, meet their commitments and boost resiliency—without impacting their customers or diminishing their ability to remain competitive.
New technology adoption creates a whole new challenge
As providers across the globe upgrade their aging infrastructure to combat resiliency issues, they are turning to emerging technology, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), to solve the energy transition conundrum. Such technologies offer providers the ability to:
- Balance the grid in real time
- Support distributed energy resources
- Enable grid automation
- Determine peak energy times and prevent power outages
- Forecast and set energy prices
- Reduce extra energy consumption
- Improve efficiency and optimize energy supply chain management
- Identify assets that need to be repaired or replaced—proactively before they cause problems
- Enable real-time optimization of distribution processes
- Bolster transparency, accountability, and auditability
- Keep customers happy
- Avoid catastrophes
All of which helps the bottom line.
However, while the technologies bring about tremendous benefits, they also create a staggering amount of data.
Most providers simply don’t know what to do with all that data they’re collecting and how to use it to reap the benefits. They can’t find it, easily access it or glean any kind of actionable insights they can use to move the needle on their emissions reduction goals. They’re relying on outdated or corrupted data to make critical decisions with far-reaching impact. Worse, they aren’t protecting their data, leaving the business and customers vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Ultimately, all that data—and sometimes even the technology generating it—is useless without real-time analytics capabilities and a modern data strategy.
So, regardless of where a provider is on the road to net-zero, they may never truly reach the finish line without that critical piece of the puzzle.
Implement a modern data strategy to accelerate the energy transition with Neudesic and Microsoft
Neudesic solutions and Microsoft technologies work together to power a modern data strategy and real-time analytics capabilities. And on January 31 at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST, experts from both organizations will share their best practices for optimizing, protecting, and managing the energy grid through the power of Data and AI.
You do not want to miss this one! Register now to reserve your spot.